George Papandreou, the outgoing Prime Minister of Greece, has said that he and opposition parties have agreed to the formation of a new interim government, after two days of negotiations.
We have agreed on someone who will unite us, Papandreou reportedly said, without revealing his identity.
Papandreou has also made his farewell address to the country, vowing to do whatever it takes for Greece to remain in the Eurozone and satisfy the terms of the latest bailout package.
In the next few months, we will do whatever is required, not only to remain in the euro but to take advantage of the benefits of the agreement of 26-27 October [the EU bailout deal], he said in a speech.
He added: It was obvious that in order to achieve this historic agreement, we would have to find a person who had everyone's support. I believe this choice is very important. My role would never be an obstacle to this national unity.
Al Jazeera is speculating that the new prime minister will likely be Philippos Petsalnikos, the speaker of the Greek parliament and former justice minister.
Petsalnikos has been in government since 1985 when he was elected as a Socialist MP and has led the parliament since 2009.
Other reports suggest the front-runner for the top job is former European Central Bank vice president Lucas Papademos.
European and Greek media have speculated on a number of possible candidates to lead the next government, including Nikiforos Diamandouros, Greece's European ombudsman; Panagiotis Roumeliotis, Greece's representative to the International Monetary Fund (IMF); Ioannis Koukiadis, a law professor and former labor minister under Papandreou’s Socialist Pasok party.
Apparently, the name of the prospective new leader would be handed over to Greek President Karolos Papoulias shortly.
Reportedly the announcement of the new premier has been delayed by arguments over a demand by the Eurozone officials that Greek political figures sign a document stating their commitment to carrying out budget cuts and austerity programs faithfully.
New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras has balked at such a stipulation.
Also, Papandreou has reportedly spoken by telephone with French President Nicolas Sarkozy to discuss the developments in Europe and the eurozone” and also informed Sarkozy of the imminent (formation) of a new government in Greece supported by the majority and the opposition.”
Whoever leads the new interim government will face the monumental challenge of imposing even more stringent austerity measures upon an over-burdened populace already reeling from high unemployment, social strife and wage cuts in exchange for desperately needed bailout funds from the European Union and International Monetary Fund (IMF).
John Psarapoulous, a Greek political commentator, told Al Jazeera: At this point, both parties [Pasok and New Democracy] have committed themselves ... to doing it. Greece would now fall apart very badly if they were to [fail], and the European Union might very well withdraw even the latest offer of help... At this point Greece is being asked if it wants to stay in the euro, so this national unity government is about achieving that.”